Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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What is airline travel delay insurance?

Airline travel delay insurance protects a policyholder from unforeseen events that interfere with his or her travel plans. The policy pays out if the traveler is delayed for more than a certain number of hours while away from home.

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The coverage usually includes a payment to help the policyholder return home. The airline travel delay insurance also compensates the policyholder for an unused and nonrefundable plane ticket.

Travel Delay Insurance Coverage

Once the travel delay insurance coverage is in place, it covers airline delays that last longer than the number of hours specified in the policy. This type of policy may also compensate the policyholder if his or her trip is interrupted due to:

  • Weather conditions
  • A natural disaster
  • Acts of terrorism
  • Lost or stolen money
  • Lost or stolen travel documents

The travel delay insurance is meant to compensate a traveler for food and accommodation expenses incurred because a flight, train or boat was late leaving. The policy will pay out an allowance after the delay reaches the time limit specified in the policy. If the traveler decides to cancel his or her trip because of the delayed departure, the policy may provide compensation for non-refundable payments made.

Some policies provide coverage for a missed departure if a policyholder misses his or her flight, cruise, or train but is able to make alternate travel arrangements. The policy pays for the additional cost to do so. A person who has purchased a ticket that offers flexibility in the departure date and time would not need this type of coverage. It is a good choice for a person who has bought a non-refundable ticket or who has booked a seat on a chartered flight and would have to pay more to buy a ticket to get to his or her travel destination.

Depending on the insurance company, you may be able to arrange coverage for a missed connecting flight in the country you are visiting. The circumstances where you would be covered would be narrowly defined with this type of policy. You would be covered if you missed your flight because the public transportation was delayed or unavailable due to bad weather, a strike or a mechanical breakdown.

The insurance company would probably not extend coverage if you were involved in an accident or if a vehicle you were driving broke down. If the reason for missing the connection was oversleeping or not allowing enough time to reach the airport, port or train station, you would not be covered.

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Flight Delay Travel Insurance Coverage

Flight delay travel insurance comes into play when your plane, train or cruise ship has been delayed by 12 hours or more. The insurance company will provide you with an allowance that is meant to cover the cost of meals while you are waiting to continue your journey. This coverage will also pay for the cost of overnight accommodations, if necessary. In most cases, the amount of the benefit payable will decline with each 12-hour increment in the delay.

Buying Flight Delay Insurance Coverage

Before you make a decision about buying flight delay travel insurance, you should take some time to consider your options. Each company offering travel insurance coverage sets its own rates for the coverage that it sells, and by shopping around, you can get the best rates for the protection you want.

Not only will you want to consider the cost of travel insurance when making your decision, but you will also need to look at what you are getting for the money. Be sure to ask what you are specifically covered for and how long the delay has to be before you will be compensated. Some policies specify that the flight must be delayed at least 12 hours before you can make a claim, and the delay must be caused by a workers’ strike, mechanical issue with the plane, boat or train or severe weather.

Take the time to start looking for your airline travel delay coverage well in advance of your departure date. Waiting until the last minute means that you may be making a decision about coverage when you are in a rush. Buying insurance is not something you want to do in a hurry; you need to understand exactly what the airline travel delay policy you are considering covers so that you can make the right decision for you.

Start by typing in your zip code and compare online travel insurance quotes for delay coverage now!